Mobridge-Pollock School Board members approved moving forward with searching for a full-time position to fill the kindergarten through fifth grade opening left with the upcoming retirement of Nancy McClellan.
At the December meeting of the board, superintendent Tim Frederick had asked for time to research the possibility of hiring a part-time music teacher for that position, but told them Monday, Jan. 13, that it would be difficult to find someone to fit that part-time need.
Frederick met with the current fine arts instructors to determine their work loads and if there would be a way to divide the workload between the current staff. He also compared schools in the state that have about the same student enrollment numbers, or did at one time, as the Mobridge-Pollock District. Using the enrollment numbers and number of fine arts teachers in those districts, he recommended the board hire a full-time position for the kindergarten through fifth grade music position, but also add assigned teaching duties.
Frederick said with the flexibility of paraprofessionals in the district, the new position could fill some of duties that a para is now performing.
“Most of the districts our size have three full-time fine arts instructors in those positions,” he said. “It would be difficult to hire for the part-time position, but we need to be cautious about adding a position when enrollment numbers are declining.”
Board president Eric Stroeder voiced concern about keeping the quality of the district’s fine arts program intact.
“In the past we have made a commitment to fine arts and we don’t want to go backwards,” he said. “We don’t want to try to do more with less.”
The board approved advertising for a full-time position as proposed.
The board tabled a decision on whether to approve a contract with GenPro Energy Solution concerning switching the lighting in the district to LED lighting.
Switching to the LED lighting would help to cut energy usage by 50 percent according to the proposal, but because the district is charged according to their peak usage and not by wattage costs, the exact amount of savings had not been calculated in the proposal.
The cost of the switch would be $253,699. That means the annual savings would be about $14,140.
Doug Dykstra told the board if they wanted to wait to approve the contract proposal, he would like to delve a little deeper into the peak costs and methods to reduce those costs to the district. He said more time would allow for deeper analysis of the data and a better idea of the actual saving would be.
The board voted to table any decisions to let Frederick take the proposal to the finance committee and allow them to formulate a plan to finance the contract if the district decides to move forward with this plan. It will also give GenCom more time to review the data and formulate a plan that includes solar power.